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Community Continues to Help Injured Firefighter

Joe YeakleyLINDALE — The Lindale/Smith County community is continuing to pull together on behalf of Lindale firefighter Joe Yeakley, seriously injured while battling a recent house blaze. Yeakley’s colleagues say he still has a long way to go. There are a number of opportunities in coming days to do your part for Yeakley and his family, including some that were added to the list over the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Health Officials Warn against Certain Fish

texas-stateof-seal-2AUSTIN (AP) – State health officials have advised against eating certain fish caught in East Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services on Monday issued a fish consumption advisory for parts of the Neches River Basin. The advisory includes Sam Rayburn Reservoir and the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. Lab testing of fish samples found elevated levels of mercury and dioxins. Agency officials say the advisory covers six species of fish caught between the State Highway 7 bridge west of Lufkin downstream to the U.S. Highway 96 bridge near Evadale and both reservoirs. Women of childbearing age and children are advised not to eat blue catfish larger than 30 inches, flathead catfish, gar, largemouth bass larger than 16 inches, smallmouth buffalo and spotted bass larger than 16 inches.

Major Structure Fire in Jacksonville

jacksonville_fire.1390707991JACKSONILLE — A massive blaze has destroyed a storage building belonging to East Texas Medical Center in Jacksonville. It was reported around 9:00 Saturday night off of U.S. Highway 69 near Bolton street. That building is said to be located right behind the Trinity Assisted Living Home. The Chief with the Jacksonville Fire Department told KETK crews on scene the fire had it under control. No injuries have been reported. They did however put the Trinity Assisted Living Home on standby in case of an emergency evacuation, but everything is said to be back to normal. Trinity Assisted Living told KETK that the fire was at their backdoor and they had to bring all their residents to the front of the building. There was no damage to the home and no injuries to report. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Kacey Musgraves Wins Two Grammys

Kacey MusgravesLOS ANGELES — Mineola’s Kacey Musgraves was a double winner at the Grammy Awards Sunday night. Musgraves won for Best County Song for “Merry Go ‘Round” and Best Country Album for “Same Trailer, Different Park.” Musgraves was a 2006 graduate of Mineola high School.

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a quick look at other work planned in Smith County by the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation.

SMITH COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to continue edge work on Farm Road 838 between State Highway 135 northeast of Arp and the Rusk County Line, followed by the same work on Farm Road 15 between Troup and the Rusk County Line. Elsewhere, TxDOT maintenance crews are scheduled to continue edge work on Farm Road 2710 between Farm Road 16 in Lindale and Farm Road 14 in Red Springs. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress. Motorists are encouraged to be prepared to reduce speed and merge in and around the work zone. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Displaced Following Longview Fire

Longview Fire DepartmentLONGVIEW — Three people were forced from their home by a fire which began in the attic of a house in southern Longview. According to the Longview News-Journal, no one was injured in the blaze, which brought two Longview Fire Department engines and a ladder truck out around 10:30 Saturday morning to 1108 Latham Lane. “They had a fire up in the attic,” Assistant Fire Marshal Joey Cowan said after firefighters had extinguished flames and white smoke no longer wafted from the roof, front door and a front window. “No one was home at the time of the incident,” he said. “A neighbor saw smoke and called us.” Cowan estimated about $1,000 damage, but added two children and an adult would have to find temporary lodging as a precaution. “They will be displaced due this being probably an electrical wire as the origin,” he said at the scene.

Kilgore Homicide Under Investigation

DocumentFragment_3755574KILGORE — A man has been fatally shot in his home just outside Kilgore. According to the Longview News-Journal, Kilgore police and sheriff’s deputies responded to a call shortly after 4:45 Saturday afternoon at a secluded home off the 1100 block of State Highway 31 and barely outside the Kilgore city limits. Upon arrival, officials found James Carson Smith, 45, (pictured) shot to death. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene by Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Talyna Carlson, and his body was sent to Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Tyler for an autopsy. Read the rest of this entry »

Jacksonville Police Still Searching for Missing Man

randalrobersonJACKSONVILLE — Police continue to search for a 28-year-old man who has been missing since Tuesday, according to Jacksonville Police Department officials. Randal Rahushun Roberson reportedly left about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 21, en route to New Summerfield, and never arrived at his location. He also never returned to his residence. According to KETK, he was traveling in a white 1995 Mercury Cougar, which was found abandoned Thursday on a county road just north of New Summerfield, police said. Read the rest of this entry »

New Evidence Claims that Bernie Tiede Could Be Set Free

bernieCARTHAGE — According to Texas Monthly, an East Texas man whose murder case inspired a 2011 film could be set free as early as next week. According to KETK, Austin criminal defense lawyer, Jodi Cole, claims that she has come across new evidence which, if it had been divulged at the Bernie Tiede trial, would have explained his vicious act of violence towards Mrs. Nugent and perhaps would have led the jury to be more lenient in its sentencing. This coming week, Cole will be filing a writ of habeas corpus in the state district court where Bernie was originally tried. Read the rest of this entry »

Amber Alert Issued for 3 Year Old Boy

ivanTENAHA — An Amber Alert has been issued for a Shelby County child that was allegedly abducted in Tenaha. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says Ivan Alvarado, 3, was reported missing at 9:00 Sunday morning from the 1100 block of County Road 4249 in Tenaha. Ivan is 3 feet tall with black hair and weighs 20 pounds. Deputies say Ivan, his 16-year-old sister, Viviana Alvarado, and her 1-year-old daughter, Paola Alvarado, are believed to have disappeared from the home together. The suspect and missing child were last seen in a newer model black Cadillac Escalade. Anyone with information is asked to contact local law enforcement or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-598-5600 or 936-598-5601.

Harrison County Man Indicted for Arson

cameron__jamesHARRISON COUNTY — An East Texas man has been indicted by a Harrison County grand jury for allegedly trying to burn down his stepmother’s home. According to KETK, Harrison County Deputies responded to a fire December 2, at a house in the 3600 block of Farm to Market Road 2208. Upon arrival, deputies found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames. James Cameron, 21, was said to be standing near the burning residence. Officials said James had been in a verbal and physical fight with his stepmother, Tonnya Cameron, 49, when he struck her. Read the rest of this entry »

System-Wide Outage Planned by Tyler IT Department

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The City of Tyler IT Department will be making necessary upgrades to its network on Feb. 5, according to a news release. The upgrade will begin at 12:01 a.m. and is expected to take approximately four hours, affecting all city systems. Employees will not be able to access any city systems or resources. Citizens will not be able to access any city websites or online bill payment systems. Officials say this maintenance window will allow any upgrades or changes that require system outages to be completed at this time. According to the news release, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your department and we hope to have the network back up as soon as possible.”

Founding Associate Deans of UT Tyler Fisch College of Pharmacy Announced

thumb_uttylerTYLER — Dr. L. Douglas Ried and Dr. Kathleen Snella have been named founding associate deans of the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas at Tyler, Dr. Alisa White, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, announced. Both associate deans will join the leadership team under the direction of founding dean Dr. Lane J. Brunner with the goal of accepting the first class of UT Tyler pharmacy students in fall 2015. “We are delighted to attract such highly talented, seasoned administrators into our developing college of pharmacy,” said Brunner. “Drs. Ried and Snella will be instrumental in establishing a strong foundation for our doctor of pharmacy program.” Read the rest of this entry »

Homeless Survey Conducted in Tyler

TYLER — Homeless advocates around the country are trying to get a head count of how many people need help. In Tyler Thursday, The East Texas Human Needs Network handed out surveys trying to do the math on the local homeless population and a thumbnail sketch of what the homeless endure on a daily basis. According to KETK, advocates say the survey is crucial to find out if what they’re doing is actually helping. Project representatives in Tyler say they have to be good stewards of all their talents, their people, their resources, and their wisdom. The project reps say they want to help people make better choices — but that as people involved in caring for the poor, they need to make better choices too. Once the results are in, local human needs workers can see progress and problem areas that need to be addressed in the coming year.

Texas Right to Life Endorses Schaefer

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1TYLER — The Texas Right to Life PAC recently announced support for the re-election campaign of State Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. A PAC news release says Schaefer co-authored several pro-life bills, including a ban on abortion after five months, when babies feel pain. The legislation also increased health and safety standards for abortion clinics, according to the release. Schaefer’s record on issues including abortion, stem cell research, and end of life issues, as well as what’s termed his dedication to supporting the pro-life cause in general, earned a rating of 112% from Texas Right to Life. The campaign website for Schaefer’s GOP primary opponent, Skip Ogle, calls Ogle “a solid conservative…focused on protecting innocent life.”

Judge Approves New Venue in Case of Slain Prosecutors

Eric WilliamsDALLAS (AP) – A judge has approved a motion to move the death penalty trial of a man accused of killing three people, including two prosecutors, to another North Texas county. Judge Michael Snipes on Friday okayed the request by defense attorneys for 46-year-old Eric Williams. Authorities say he fatally shot Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in March, and Kaufman assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse last January. Williams’ trial is scheduled to begin in October in Rockwall County, northeast of Dallas. Prosecutors say the killings were to avenge the former justice of the peace’s conviction on theft charges that cost him his office and law license. Authorities say Williams’ wife, Kim Williams, has confessed, naming her husband as the shooter. She’s also charged with capital murder.

Man Indicted for Allegedly Burning Down Stepmother’s Home

cameron__jamesMARSHALL — An East Texas man has been indicted by a Harrison County grand jury for allegedly burning down his stepmother’s home. KETK reports Harrison County deputies responded to a fire December 2 at a house in the 3600 block of FM 2208. Upon arrival, deputies found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames and James Cameron, 21, standing near the burning residence. According to authorities, investigation found Cameron had been in a verbal and physical fight with his stepmother, Tonnya Cameron, 49, and that he had struck his stepmother. He allegedly poured used cooking oil through the home and gasoline around the back of the home prior to setting it on fire, officials say. The woman ran from the house when she realized it was on fire. She was treated for smoke inhalation and taken to a local hospital, and the home was completely destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Concerned about Toll 49’s Impact on Oilfield

thumb_loop-49EAST TEXAS — Progress can be messy, unsettling, and costly — and can get some folks in a bind. According to KETK, so it is with a proposed section of Toll 49 known as the “East Texas Hourglass.” The stretch of highway would run from south Tyler to north Marshall — going through a portion of East Texas’s oilfield along the way. People responsible for exactly where the road goes say they’re looking at all environmental factors before they start pouring pavement. They say as they develop the routes, they’ll do their best to miss important key features, one of which would be an oil well. Officials say the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority wants to hear concerns from East Texans.

Two Questioned in Lindale Heist

Wal-Mart Lindale theft 1-13-14LINDALE — Two people suspected in a heist of computers from a Lindale Wal-Mart have been questioned by police. KETK reports Henry Marshall and Kelly Edwards (pictured) were brought in for questioning but no warrants or arrests were issued. We’re told Smith County Constable John Smith tracked down Edwards through a Facebook post that revealed her location. Whitehouse police managed to reach Marshall. 34-year-old Adam Bowers was captured earlier this month after a chase through Smith County. Authorities believe Bowers also robbed a Family Dollar store off Frankston Highway in Tyler. Lindale police released surveillance video reportedly showing the three walking out of the Wal-Mart with a cart full of stolen merchandise.

Longview Apartments Damaged by Fire, One Destroyed

Longview Fire DepartmentLONGVIEW — Four units of the Highland Village Apartments on West Loop 281 in Longview have been damaged by fire, and KETK reports one of those was destroyed. It was reported around 9:00 Thursday night. One resident was taken to the hospital with a minor case of smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Man Indicted in Case that Led to “Kari’s Law” Push

brad_allen_dunnMARSHALL — An East Texas man who’s accused of killing his wife and then kidnapping his four-year-old daughter has been indicted for murder in a case that’s prompted a push for a new law. KETK reports Brad Dunn, 35, was arrested December 1 after an Amber Alert was issued for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of his daughter, Kylie Dunn, and the slaying of the mother of the child, Kari Dunn. He was indicted by a Harrison County Grand Jury Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Weather Closings, Delays, Changes

EAST TEXAS — As very cold weather and the possibility of winter precipitation hit parts of East Texas, school districts are taking precautions by either delaying school or cancelling activities altogether. Please send all delay or closing info to Read the rest of this entry »

Part of Henderson County among Areas Added to Mussel Fight

zebra musselsAUSTIN (AP/Staff) – State officials fighting the spread of invasive zebra mussels have expanded the territory where boaters are required to drain all watercraft before and after entering lakes and streams. Commissioners for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Thursday unanimously approved adding 30 counties in North, East, and Central Texas to the requirement. Among the new counties on the list is Henderson County west of Highway 19. Read the rest of this entry »

Preliminary Hearing Set Feb. 26 for Former Oklahoma Doctor

William Martin Valuck
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP/Staff) – An Oklahoma County judge has scheduled a preliminary hearing for Feb. 26 for a former doctor facing murder and drug distribution charges in the deaths of patients from what authorities say were prescription drug overdoses. Special Judge Susan Johnson scheduled the hearing Thursday for Dr. William Valuck, who was arrested in December in Kilgore and is being held in the Oklahoma County Jail. Johnson also appointed the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office to represent Valuck after he testified that he had no financial assets and could not hire an attorney. An affidavit says federal and state authorities have been investigating Valuck since January 2013. Authorities say eight of Valuck’s patients died of overdoses of the drugs he was prescribing to them. Another patient allegedly caused a fatal traffic accident.

Fugitive Sentenced after Eating Marijuana During Traffic Stop

raymond_rileyHENDERSON — A Louisiana man was sentenced to three years behind bars by a Rusk County jury for tampering with physical evidence after he proceeded to eat marijuana during a traffic stop. KETK reports Raymond Riley, 64, of Baton Rouge had been a fugitive from justice since making bond in the 2005 case. Riley failed to appear in a number of different trial settings and was only returned to Rusk County when a routine traffic stop in a another jurisdiction showed outstanding warrants for felony failure to appear. Riley was stopped in 2005 by deputy-turned-prosecutor Morgan Biggs, and in the dash-cam video of the stop, Riley is seen eating a small bag of marijuana. He can also be seen, on tape, throwing heroin out the window.

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